Yokohama Quick Guide

Yokohama Minato Mirai

Yokohama’s often overlooked as just another part of the Greater Tokyo sprawl, but it’s a great city in its own right and with its own character. Yokohama International Stadium (see here) is being used for Olympic football matches (including the men’s final) and Yokohama Stadium (a different stadium!) will host the Olympic baseball & softball. Also the sailing will be down in Enoshima to the south of Yokohama – if you’re visiting for the Olympic sailing it would make sense to base yourself in Yokohama if you can’t find anywhere closer. Even if you don’t attend any events in Yokohama it still makes a good daytrip from Tokyo, perhaps in combination with nearby Kamakura (home to the Great Buddha, see below).

Where to Stay in Yokohama

For Olympic events in Yokohama you can stay in Yokohama itself, or really anywhere in central Tokyo. If opting for the former, the Shin-Yokohama Station area (search here) puts you walking distance from the football stadium, whereas the more central options near Yokohama Station (search here) or the Minato Mirai port area (search here) are better for nightlife & sightseeing and closer to the baseball stadium. If you’re going to the sailing and staying in Yokohama, it’s best to stay near Yokohama Station so you can hop straight on the JR line to Fujisawa (20 minutes), transferring at Fujisawa to the local Enoden train to Enoshima (10 minutes).

If you’re thinking of staying in Tokyo, see here

Airbnb is also a great option in Japan, in fact in Japan it seems to work particularly well – most hosts arrange self-checkin & checkout systems, allowing you to arrive & leave flexibly without needing to meet someone for the keys (the key’s often left in a lockbox for you). The wifi is always super-fast, and I’ve never had an Airbnb nightmare in Japan (have had a few elsewhere). There was a crackdown in 2018 with the introduction of new regulations which led to a collapse in the number of listings available and accordingly a jump in prices, with a lot of travellers reporting that their reservations were suddenly cancelled as a result. It was all a bit of a mess at first, but you can be confident that any listings remaining on there at this point are legit. Prices went up unfortunately, but then so did standards, and Airbnb is still my usual go to for accommodation in Japan.

New users can get a $35 discount from their first Airbnb rental through 4corners7seas, simply click here and sign up.

Yokohama Landmark Tower

Yokohama Landmark Tower

Transportation in Greater Tokyo

If you have a JR Pass you can use it on all the JR lines in Tokyo & Yokohama, most significantly the Yamanote Line (the main Tokyo loop line) and Chuo Line (which bisects the Yamanote east/west and more directly connects Tokyo Station to Shinjuku). However a good percentage of your travel in Tokyo & Yokohama is likely to involve non-JR trains, e.g. the Yokohama Blue Line to the football stadium. If you don’t have a JR Pass it’s easiest to get an IC card, and even if you do have a pass you’ll still want an IC card for the non-JR trains. For more on IC cards see here

Things to Do in Yokohama

Minato Mirai: Yokohama’s photogenic waterfront is called Minato Mirai, meaning ‘Future Port’, and was completely redeveloped in recent decades from the rough old dockyard area. These days it consists of business & leisure facilities including the converted Akarenga red brick warehouses (now an artsy shopping centre with good restaurants & bars on the top floors, see here), an amusement park with a large Ferris wheel and various other rides, and the Landmark Tower (until recently Japan’s tallest building) with a good observation deck at the top (see here). The Landmark Tower stands near the main JR Yokohama Station, and the waterfront promenade runs east from there via the amusement park, various shopping malls & museums, the Akarenga warehouses, etc, to Yamashita Park; it’s about a 30-minute walk end-to-end if you don’t stop. Yokohama’s Chinatown is a short walk inland from Yamashita Park, so if you start with the Landmark Tower and stroll along the waterfront checking stuff out along the way, finally aiming for a meal in Chinatown, you have the makings of a good day out. Minato Mirai has a good homepage here; access is on foot from JR Yokohama Station, or from the half-dozen stations along the privately operated Minatomirai Line (IC cards accepted) which runs from Yokohama Station to Motomachi-Chukagai (Chinatown) Station

note: there are direct through services along the Minatomirai Line to/from the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Shibuya, and the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line from Shibuya to Ikebukuro and beyond, meaning you can actually ride a single train from Ikebukuro right to Yokohama Chinatown without changing, though you still get charged for the 3 tickets (by Tokyo Metro, Tokyu, and Minatomirai). Sounds confusing? Check train routes on Hyperdia (see here for an explanation on how to use it) and just follow its recommended route from your starting point; to handle the fares easily use an IC card.

Yokohama Chukugai Chinatown

Chinatown: Japan’s largest and most famous Chinatown is Yokohama’s Chukagai (the other two are in Nagasaki and Kobe), in fact one of the world’s largest, and it’s a great place to go for food at the end (or beginning) of an amble along the Minato Mirai waterfront. It occupies the blocks just west of Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minatomirai Line, or alternatively it’s a short walk northeast of JR Ishikawacho Station on the Negishi Line (3 stops from JR Yokohama). They have a homepage here, though it’s in Japanese only.

Kirin brewery tour: Kirin is one of Japan’s main beer labels and you can take a tour of their brewery in Yokohama (with tasting session at the end). For access see the map on their homepage here (homepage only in Japanese unfortunately); the closest station is Namamugi on the private Keikyu Line (a 10-minute walk), or if you’re using the JR Pass the closest JR station is Shin-Koyasu (15-minute walk).

Nightlife: for clubbing it’s best to hop on a train up to Shibuya, but Yokohama has a great bar scene of its own especially in the jazz house department. The Noge district is the main area for this, lying inland from Minato Mirai to the southwest of Sakuragicho Station (one stop from JR Yokohama); there’s a good write-up here.

For live big screen sports head to The Tavern, a 10-minute walk west of Yokohama Station.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura

Kamakura: Home to the Kamakura Great Buddha and a number of beautiful temples, with some good hiking trails in the hills behind and views over Sagamihara Bay. Kamakura makes a nice easy day-trip from Yokohama e.g. head to the Great Buddha & Hasedera Temple first, then perhaps head on to nearby Enoshima (a popular little island just off the coast) or head back to Yokohama for a Chinatown dinner. If you’re going to watch the Olympic sailing at Enoshima you can easily pop over to Kamakura from there.

Kamakura’s just 25 minutes from Yokohama Station direct on the JR Yokosuka Line, and at Kamakura Station switch to the Enoshima Railway (aka Enoden) 3 stops to Hase Station from where you can walk up to Hasedera Temple & the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in. Enoshima is just 20 minutes further along the same line; get off at Enoshima Station and it’s a 15-minute walk to the island over the bridge (see here for more info)

Hakone: the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park lies not far west of Yokohama, consisting of the Mt Fuji area and the Izu Peninsula. If you want to actually climb Fuji, the Olympics is at the right time of year but note it’ll be super-crowded; see here for a few tips.

Large torii gate at Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

The easiest bit of the park to visit from Yokohama is Hakone, and it’s a nice place to visit in summer for cooler temperatures due the higher altitude (and again another good spot for the autumn colours later in the year). From Odawara Station you can catch the bus (around an hour) up to Lake Ashinoko, where you can take a boat cruise on the lake and ride the Hakone Ropeway; that’s plenty for a day-trip, and you can descend to Odawara and take the train back to Yokohama or Tokyo (half an hour by Kodama shinkansen). You can also stay up there at one of Hakone’s hotels or ryokan, and take your time to check out the various museums, the other ropeway (there are two, the other one being the Komagatake Ropeway up Mt Komagatake), ride the scenic Hakone Tozan Railway, and soak in the hot springs. You can get the Hakone Free Pass (see here) for 2 or 3 days which covers the ropeways, local buses, sightseeing cruise, and scenic railway. Check out the Hakone homepage here, and search hotels in Hakone here

Any questions about Yokohama? Give me a shout below and I’ll get back to you.

Useful Links

Click the banner to pre-order your JR Pass and save 40 dollars, or see my JR Pass guide for full details:

JR pass banner

Check train times on Hyperdia (see here for an explanation on how to use it)

Search Agoda for hotels in Yokohama or Tokyo

How to get online in Japan

Check out my other Japan posts and Japan travel guide

6 comments on “Yokohama Quick Guide
  1. Ian MacEachern says:

    Thank you – this is really useful. I’ve tickets to the nz/sa, ire/sco games on the first weekend and games three weeks later with a ticket to the sumo on the first Saturday also. Where’s best to stay to soak up the rugby atmosphere and see as much as I can? Am also thinking of booking an onsen/ ryonkan stay on way back in Hakone prior to second set of games… any recommendations? Finally, can you get a guide to climb Fuji out of season or is this a big no no?

    • Simon Norton says:

      Cheers Ian, always good to hear! You’ve got some tasty tickets there, good stuff. If you’re looking to fill those 3 weeks with sightseeing I’d suggest getting a JR Pass and visiting a bunch of places, definitely including Hiroshima (guide here), Kyoto (guide here) & Osaka (here), plus anywhere else you fancy the sound of (see my suggestions here). For rugby atmosphere try and go to the Hanazono fanzone in east Osaka, that’s one of Japan’s real rugby areas and if you go to that fanzone while there’s a match at Hanazono stadium I reckon it’ll be a good time. Hakone’s a good call too, I’ve only ever done day trips from Tokyo so can’t personally recommend a Hakone onsen, but I’ve never heard a bad word about any of them. As for Fuji, unless you’re an experienced alpinist forget about climbing it outside climbing season (which ends in early September); a better idea would be to visit Lake Kawaguchiko to see the autumn colours around the lake with Fuji in the background. Kawaguchiko is on the north side of Fuji, i.e. the far side form Hakone, and is best accessed from Tokyo. With luck you’ll see Fuji from Hakone too, though at a greater distance.

      Hope this helps and give me a shout with any further questions

  2. Patrick McCarthy says:

    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for the article. Very useful. Can you tell me, is there much around the stadium itself? We’re going to the Ireland Scotland game but want to watch the England Tonga game which kicks off shortly after and were hoping to watch in a bar somewhere. Would there be one suitable near the stadium or are we best to head into Yokohama?

    Thanks again

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Patrick, the stadium stands fairly isolated on the other side of a river from the Shin-Yokohama station area, nothing immediately around the stadium but if you walk back to the station there are a bunch of bars in the streets around there. I would think some would have the rugby on, though I don’t know this for sure. But that’s certainly where to look first, as you’ll probably end up missing the first half of England Tonga if you head back into town. If you do end up having to go back into town, the fan zone at Rinko Park in the Minatomirai harbour area should be good.

  3. Neil Taylor says:

    Hi I am going for the final next weekend. I may also see the runner up game but maybe not. I have never been to Japan before.
    Should I stay in Tokyo or Yokohama?
    On the day of the final where is the best place to soak up the atmosphere of the rugby before the game, e.g where would you have lunch and dinner etc. In NZ you would eat at the viaduct then probably walk 40 minutes fan walk to the stadium as an example.
    Thanks Neil

    • Simon Norton says:

      Hi Neil,

      Personally I’d stay in Tokyo, especially for your first trip to Japan. Yokohama is nice too though, and obviously closer to the stadium.

      The stadium itself isn’t located in the most atmospheric area, you walk to it from Shin-Yokohama Station through a nondescript suburb and then over a river. But prior to heading out to Shin-Yokohama, you could maybe go to the Yokohama fan zone in the harbour area which has had lots of good reviews (the fan zones in Tokyo apparently aren’t as good, though I didn’t actually get to any of them myself).

      Hope this helps and give me a shout if you have any more questions

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